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*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), Toxicology Assessment Division (TAD) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
The ability of somatic-organ specific stem cells to be maintained, differentiate, and function is absolutely required for the maintenance of overall health, well-being, and longevity. The impact which non-chemical stressors (e.g. diet, life-style, stress, etc.) and their interactions with environmental chemical exposures have on organ specific stem cells is unknown. This research project will examine the impact with non-chemical stressors and chemical exposures have on post-natal or somatic airway progenitor cells known as basal cells. The research will develop "human airway in a dish" assays to assess how chemicals effect basal cell viability, differentiation, and function. In addition, the project will examine similar effects within target animal or in vivo studies to confirm in vitro models. This research will inform regulatory decision related to chemical risk assessment as well as interactions with real world non-chemical stressors such as obesity and psychosocial stressors. The research will be closely integrated with ongoing studies designed to discover and develop adverse outcome pathways linking key chemical induced molecular initiating events to adverse health outcomes of regulatory concern.
Under the guidance of a mentor, the learning objectives for the research participant will include:
  • Problem solving and experimental design formulation
  • Data analytics and interpretation
  • How to evaluate, validate, and qualify In vitro approaches for in vivo extrapolations in terms of their sensitivity, specificity, and predictability
  • Pulmonary toxicology and physiology
  • Use of state of the art assay platforms and software packages
  • Communicating results by presenting results at scientific meetings and assisting in their publication in peer-reviewed journals
Due to the broad impact and applications of this research project to various Agency programs, the research participant will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from other scientists across NHEERL’s various health divisions as well as the National Center for Computational Toxicology. These mentoring interactions will occur at both the technical and research formulation levels.
The mentor for this opportunity is Kevin Dreher (
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 30, 2020
This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at EPA in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, area. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. 
The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree and will reach completion by the start date of the appointment. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 
This opportunity is available to US citizens only.
If you have questions, send an email to  Please include the reference code for this opportunity (EPA-ORD-NHEERL-TAD-2019-01) in your email.